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Poor Shooting and Turnovers Doom Cavs in Blowout Loss to Raptors

The magic and excitement that surrounded the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter of Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night didn't make the trip across the border.

Toronto outscored Cleveland 31-17 in the third quarter to pull away and eventually rout the Cavaliers 101-81. The Raptors had five players in double-figures compared to just two for the Cavs (Antawn Jamison with 13, Anthony Parker with 10).

Playing without starting point guard Mo Williams (groin) and starting center Anderson Varejao (personal reasons), the Cavs struggled in almost all facets of the game. They did a poor job executing offensively (38.1 percent shooting for the game, just four assists in the first half), hanging on to the ball (19 turnovers leading to 16 Raptors points), and rebounding (46-33 advantage for Toronto, including 11 offensive).

After a sloppy and uneventful first half which saw the Cavs cut the deficit to 46-38 on a buzzer-beating three by Anthony Parker, the Raptors, led by Linas Kleiza, took off in the third quarter. They got out on the break and easily got any shot they wanted offensively, constantly breaking down the defense with dribble penetration and Kleiza's inside/outside combination.

Toronto hit 10 of their first 15 shots to start the second half and scored on seven of eight possessions halfway through to stretch the lead to 73-55. At that point, the Cavs just simply didn't have enough offensive firepower to respond.

Andrea Bargnani led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Kleiza had 19, with 13 coming in the decisive third quarter. DeMar DeRozan had 14 while Sonny Weems and Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to add 13 apiece. Reggie Evans had just two points but 14 rebounds (five offensive).

The Cavs were paced by Jamison (13) and Parker (10). Other than that, the lone bright spot was the play of rookie Manny Harris, who scored eight points, hit two-three pointers, and tallied two rebounds, an assist, and a steal in 12 minutes of clean-up time in the final period.



  • The highlighted matchup of Ryan Hollins and Andrea Bargnani was for naught, as the Cavs started out using J.J. Hickson on Bargnani while the latter matched up with Hollins on the defensive end. But Bargnani was effective early, scoring seven in the first quarter and doing it mainly on jump shots. The Cavs started double-teaming him on the post and that really spread the floor for guys like Kleiza and DeRozan. Once the ball was fed inside the defense was scrambling to recover, and Jarrett Jack and the Toronto guards did a nice job of attacking the basket and drawing fouls. On the flip side, Hickson had a night to forget with just six points and six rebounds. He got in foul trouble early, played only 19 minutes, and couldn't get in a rhythm. Hollins had five rebounds, which is fine if he was in his reserve role but the Cavs needed more production with Varejao out.


  • I thought Mo Williams would be in the lineup tonight but Byron Scott, who said before the game he was being overly cautious, decided to hold him out again, and it's possible he might not go tomorrow with the Cavs having two days off before their next game on Tuesday. Instead, Ramon Sessions got the start and played his worst game of the season. I know it's been two games, but I'm going out on a limb and saying he won't play a worse game for the rest of the year. He was 1-of-10 with just four points and five turnovers in 24 minutes. He was indecisive early, not knowing when to look for his shot and when to set up teammates. Eventually he started looking for his shot and the length of Toronto inside really bothered him. Booby Gibson wasn't much more effective either. Couple that with little movement away from the ball, turnovers (19), and a lot of "one-pass, shot" possessions and the Cavs didn't really have a chance.


  • The loss of Anderson Varejao really showed tonight as Toronto worked the glass on both ends—Reggie Evans in particular. He had 14 rebounds and controlled the paint, grabbing five offensive rebounds and keeping countless possessions alive with tips off of missed shots. Even the guards got involved—Jack and DeRozan had five boards apiece. The Cavs couldn't get any production from their bigs inside and it didn't help that Hickson was in foul trouble a majority of the night. The Raptors have actually put together back-to-back efficient defensive games, holding the Knicks to 43.2 percent shooting and the Cavs to 38.1. The difference in the first game was New York's points in the paint (52), but the Cavs couldn't come close to matching that production tonight.


  • Antawn Jamison had a decent game off the bench, scoring 13 points and knocking down three three-pointers. Unfortunately those shots came with the Cavs already down double-digits and Antawn didn't really have a significant impact. He looked a bit more comfortable tonight but part of that can be contributed to his extended playing time (25 minutes) with Hickson in foul trouble. And defensively, he couldn't keep Evans or Kleiza off the glass. It was a step in the right direction for his sixth man role, but Byron Scott should look to try and get Hickson and Jamison some minutes on the floor at the same time...especially if Jamison can knock down outside shots. It would really spread the floor and allow more room for Sessions to attack off the dribble—the Raptors weren't exactly threatened by the Jamario Moon/Anthony Parker outside combination and clogged the middle.


  • The first half wasn't played at a particularly fast pace, and when it opened up in the second half the Raptors just had too many offensive weapons for the Cavs to keep up. Cleveland did have 16 fast break points but many of them came in the second half when the outcome had been decided. If the Cavs aren't going to get out on the break and get easy buckets, they need to operate flawlessly in the half-court. They did neither tonight. Throughout the course of the year we'll talk a lot about margin of error. With James, the margin of error was obviously a lot bigger than it is now. The Cavs simply don't have the talent to show up and beat teams so they have to do all of the little things well—rebound, defend, and execute flawlessly on offense. They did none of those three tonight. Having said that, they were without two starters and a lineup of Sessions/Parker/Moon/Hickson/Hollins will struggle against most teams. So they get a pass for tonight...we'll see how they respond tomorrow at home vs. Sacramento.


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